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The Components of President Obama's Immigration Plan Likely to Impact Employers

December 01, 2014

President Barack Obama (Source:

Following President Obama’s announcement to address the nation’s immigration system using his executive authority, Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses, is outlining aspects of the president’s plan that could impact employers.

“Changes to the country’s immigration system mean changes that employers will have to prepare for,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO.  “At Paychex, we take a leadership role in helping business owners navigate complex government regulations. We’ll be watching this issue closely in the coming months to help businesses ensure they are up to speed on the president’s plan.”

Here are highlights of the president’s plan relevant to employers:

  1. Pathway to temporarily stay in the U.S. President Obama’s plan offers a pathway to allow more than 4 million undocumented immigrants the ability to temporarily stay in the U.S. Under this provision an undocumented immigrant who is the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and who has been in the country for at least five years may apply for deferred action and employment authorization for a period of three years.
  1. Timeline for implementation and mandatory requirements. According to the White House, the application process will begin in the spring of 2015. Those who qualify will be required to pay taxes and file returns on wages earned but will be issued a Social Security card. These individuals must also pay a penalty, pass a background check, and learn English in order to be approved for the temporary status.
  1. Expanding work authorization for high-skilled workers. The president’s plan will address streamlining legal immigration to boost the economy by expanding work authorization for high-skilled workers. In addition, modest increases are expected for businesses seeking additional visas for skilled foreign workers.

It is still unknown if Congress will take action to pass what the president calls “responsible immigration reform legislation.” In the event that does happen, the president has stated that any programs puts in place now as a result of his executive action will no longer be needed.

As the nation’s leading provider of payroll and HR services for America’s small businesses, Paychex monitors the political and regulatory environment surrounding issues impacting its 580,000 clients nationwide.